The Most Efficient Nurturing Occurs Using E-mail Drip Campaigns
“Nurture” is such a pleasant word. Think of lovingly caring for something so that it grows and flourishes. We nurture our children; we nurture our gardens. And as marketers, we can nurture our leads so they grow into customers.
Lead nurturing is simply the process of communicating and connecting with prospects at every stage of the sales funnel.
The most efficient nurturing occurs using e-mail drip campaigns.
What is a Drip E-Mail Campaign?
At its most basic, a drip campaign is a series of e-mails sent out at strategic times to accomplish a specific goal. Like the drip irrigation systems they’re named after, you “drip” e-mails to the inboxes of your prospects and customers.
This kind of timed-release marketing is great for products and services with a long selling cycle. High-ticket products or complex services are perfect for nurturing campaigns.
How do you stay top-of-mind when these prospects eventually decide to buy?
With a drip campaign, of course.
Using your understanding of your customers and how your sales funnel works, you can create e-mails that nudge a new prospect through the buying process. What search terms did he use to find you? What pages in your website did he visit? What did he download? What is he likely to respond to, based on answers to these questions?
The New Prospect
The New Prospect is a crucial stage when you’ll be sending the first message to your new lead. He was once a visitor browsing your site. Now he’s given you his email. Welcome emails give you the perfect chance to engage while he’s still “hot”.
Here’s a welcome e-mail we received from Bitly.
As you can see, they provided info to get us started with their product.
Welcome e-mails are a great way to introduce prospects to your blog. Give them access to information that can help them make their decision to buy and create some goodwill in the process.
Follow up your Welcome e-mail in a day or two to get them used to seeing your name in their inbox. Here you can offer something interesting or valuable they didn’t know before.
Here’s our follow-up e-mail from Bitly. They are upselling, yes, but they are providing information we can use to make their product more applicable to our use.
After the follow up e-mail, your prospects should be moved from Prospect to Engaged Prospect.
The Engaged Prospect
At this stage, continue to drip e-mails prospects can find useful, interesting or informative. Here’s where you can send them newsletters, “exclusive” customer-only content to appeal to their egos, limited time offers to get them moving, “feel-good” e-mails to build rapport and make them feel appreciated, holiday e-mails that, of course, are in the spirit of the holidays and not about selling, news about industry-related events, educational e-mails that detail why your services and products are better than your competition’s, etc.
Remember, there’s a reason why there’s a torture named after drips of water that never end. A constant flow of e-mails that are not related to your audience’s interests is more annoying than anything else. And annoyed recipients will unsubscribe in a hurry.
The New Customer
When you first close a prospect, you can make sure they receive the most value from their new kitchen or bath. Using a drip campaign, you can keep new customers engaged and introduce them to the best ways to take care of their new cabinets, countertops, floors, etc.
A thank you e-mail is first. Then ask for reviews. In your message, provide links to the sites where you want reviews to appear.
The Customer for Life
. Customers for whom you have completed jobs get moved into their own list segment and receive e-mails from your drip campaigns less frequently than those you are actively trying to sell. Anniversary e-mails are good. “It’s been a year since we finished your kitchen.” Send them invitations to showroom events to let them know you’re still thinking of them. Ask, in a subtle way, of course, for recommendations of friends and family who might be in the market for a new kitchen. And you wouldn’t miss the opportunity to ask if they’re interested in a new bath or office re-design, would you?
Re-Engage Inactive Prospects and Customers
Keep leads that don’t close in their own segment and do a drip nurturing campaign to keep them warm. When they’re finally ready to buy, you’ll still be on their radar.
is still one of the best ways to communicate with an audience, even after all these years. E-mail is the most direct way to get specific content to a specific lead, but effective e-mails need to meet certain criteria:
- Keep it short. If your e-mails are longer than 3 to 4 sentences, you’ll probably lose your readers.
- Keep it simple. Start small, test your ideas and see what feedback and open rates reveal.
- Mix up the content. Use text, video and photos to keep it personalized and engaging.
- Test different things. If an e-mail isn’t performing, replace the content or change the subject line.
- Be authentic. Write what you would say to them over the phone.
- Be coordinated. Tie in your e-mail message with your social media postings.
Automate Your Drip E-mail Campaigns
Sending all the different types of e-mails we’ve looked at here to various list segments at certain specific times can be overwhelming and labor-intensive if you try to do it manually. You need to have a marketing automation platform in place to help you identify, segment and target your prospects and customers. This kind of campaign is where marketing automation really works, especially when it comes to reducing effort and boosting overall results.
There is no lack of programs on the market to perform these duties for you. A simple search for “drip marketing” produced more ads than links to articles. We’re not recommending any of these, per se, but they are the ones that came up at the top of the list.
Customers today are looking for someone they can trust and have an on-going relationship with. Providing helpful and relevant information for them at strategic times is one of the best ways to nurture trust. Using an e-mail drip campaign, you can provide relevant content and build strong relationships by matching your e-mails with where your prospects and customers are in your sales funnel.
The process begins from the moment they express interest. And guiding them through the buying journey will convert them from prospects to loyal customers when the drip campaigns are run correctly.
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